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Copies of rare Ben Okafor CDs unearthed

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Rare CD copies of Ben Okafor’s 2001 “Shadows” album have been unearthed and we are pleased to say that they are now available via the shop on this very website – while stocks last!

Plankton Records partner Keith Dixon explained: ” About 20 years ago, our friend BEN OKAFOR had released 2 cassette albums on his own record label, Roadsweeper Records, in his homeland of Nigeria. He wanted to release them on CD and we (Plankton) came alongside to help him with sorting out the artwork, mastering and production of the CDs in the UK and then shipping them to Nigeria.”

“We picked ‘Shadows’ as the first album to manufacture as it featured all new unreleased recordings and also included two songs that had not been released on any Ben Okafor release anywhere else. For the record, the second release was called ‘Rhythm & Creed’ and although it went through all the origination processes we never got to manufacture CD copies. From memory, the difference between the two albums is that ‘Rhythm & Creed’ was a compilation of existing recordings taken from Ben’s earlier releases”

“Coming right back up to date – Due to an enquiry via Ben’s (and our) old friend Paul Vincent we trawled through all the product we have in storage at Plankton HQ and to my surprise and delight I unearthed an unopened box of ‘Shadows’ CDs so we have added this great title to our website shop – but once they’re gone, that’s it!”

To view details of the album in our discography section, which includes some song excerpts and a direct link to the album in this website’s shop CLICK HERE

 

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Kosi (All Star Remix) released

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Uganda based and multi award winning artist Ambassada is part of the international band NINE BEATS COLLECTIVE. On their album ‘Nine Beats to the Bar’ he wrote and performed the wonderful track ‘Kosi’ with Nine Beats Collective producer Tony Bean from the UK.

The song became the start of an idea  and Ambassada set up and organised the much anticipated project originating for East Africa – the KOSI EA ALL-STARS single. He has brought together high-profile artists from Uganda and Kenya: Pallaso, Eddy Kenzo, Arrow Bwoy, Beenie Gunter, Nina Roz, Jabidii, Dufla, Wamboi Katee and Ghetto kids to re-imagine, add to and remix the original song. The new version is called ‘Kosi (All Star Remix)’ and the project’s aim is to empower and motivate a new generation of African youth

KOSI is short for kosisikeleli – one of the punchlines in the former Tanzanian and South African national anthem, meaning ‘freedom’. The song’s title was chosen to inspire, motivate and encourage a new generation of young people to free their minds to a positive outlook and attitude to life.

“I know what it is like to live on the streets, I have been there, and I can tell you that there is another way” says Ambassada; “The Nine Beats Collective project for which I originally wrote this song is all about living out the old wisdom of the teachings of Jesus from the bible, know as ‘the beatitudes’ in today’s new world – and I believe this new generation is ready to hear it and live it! That’s why all of us artists have collaborated on this new version of KOSI – it’s time for Kenya, Uganda and East Africa’s youth to seize the day for a better future.”

We have released the brilliant single today (May 29th) onto all major digital music sites/platforms Worldwide (with the exclusion of some mainland Europe territories). Ten per cent of sales of the single will go to The Ambassada Foundation, set up by Ambassada to practically help and support children and young people from incredibly tough situations. With such a talented group of artists joining forces, KOSI is set to start to make a difference and impact the creative/music media of East Africa and beyond with sound, visuals and positivity.

Watch the official video on YouTube: CLICK HERE

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New radio play for Christmas album

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Our only Christmas album (so far!), the beautiful celtic influenced “Emmanuel” album by VIVIENNE NEVILLE & LIZ CLARKE has been receiving renewed interest from a few radio stations in the UK this year following enquires about it via a Facebook posting we did a few weeks ago. Songs from the album have now been added to several radio station playlists.

One radio contact sent us this message. “This is a fabulous album. Chilled and spiritual. It will be featured on my shows”.

Another said, “Thanks again for sending us the Emmanuel album by Vivienne and Liz as requested. Just to let you know that out of the many fine tracks on the album we have chosen Vivienne’s ‘In The Bleak Midwinter’ as one of our ‘12 Songs of Christmas’ and this will go out on this week’s Sunday Lunch show. It will also feature on a stand alone ’12 Songs of Christmas’ special programme which will be on during the festive period”.

We at Plankton, have always known that it’s a special album and it won lots of critical acclaim when it was released and we think that it does reflect and remind us that the miracle and birth of Jesus is the centre of all our Christmas celebrations. The album is available on CD from our website (CLICK HERE) and on all digital music sites and platforms Worldwide – check out your fav site.

Watch the short promo video (2 mins) for the album (CLICK HERE)

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New seasonal EP from Heatherlyn (Nine Beats Collective)

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Brilliant USA singer/songwriter (and member of Nine Beats Collective) HEATHERLYN is releasing a 3 song solo acoustic EP called ‘Songs of the Season’ on November 29th. The EP features 2 Heatherlyn originals and a cover of a not so well-known Christmas carol.

Heatherlyn shared about the EP “For me as a little Heatherlyn, Thanksgiving to Christmas was actually the most wonderful time of the year. Growing up with a single mom who had a high school education, we were often under resourced. I wore hand-me-downs and we received the church’s Thanksgiving dinner baskets. During that time, we visited with my aunts, uncles, cousins and Grammy. Grammy had a small fake white Christmas tree that I loved to decorate and until she died, these were the best of times. Since we didn’t have a whole lot of money, my mom, being very crafty herself, would also find a project for us. Every thanksgiving we would begin creating Christmas ornaments from beads and chenille sticks! And we would make a gift – the same gift but personalized – for each of my Aunt’s families. For me, these are some of my most cherished childhood memories, some of the best quality time with my mom, and the season felt abundant because we were creating together, and the gifts we made were material symbols of all the love and gratitude with which we had created them.

With these songs I wanted to create a space to explore the wonder and truth of this season, the honest ache of unfulfilled dreams and the nostalgia of joys past. For the listener to allow their heart to be well acquainted with the very present depth of desire for peace and justice, uncontrived comfort and genuine joy to reign all over the earth. Also to allow themselves to be present to the scarcity many experience and open their heart to how you might participate in the abundance of this season. Grieve the losses and receive the gifts. Lament injustice and consider how you might embody justice to our world.”

This EP release is NOT a Plankton Records release but Heatherlyn is part of our Nine Beats Collective family so we want to support her in her wonderful solo work too! She is also playing 2 concerts in the Colorado are in December which will no doubt feature the songs from the EP. You can find details of these concerts on our events page.

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Nine Beats Collective – California USA dates announced

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The live work under the NINE BEATS COLLECTIVE banner continues. Just confirmed is a week of live dates in California, USA.

“Following our appearances at this summer’s Wild Goose festival it’s great to be playing more dates and sharing about 9 beats again in the USA,” shared Nine Beats Road Manager Rob Taylor. “It’s taken a bit of time to pull these dates together into one week and we are delighted that Heatherlyn and Ben Grace were available and delighted to head up the dates. Nine Beat’s founder, head honcho and lyric writer Steve Bassett and I will be flying over from the UK. Steve will be playing guitar and sharing about the Nine Fold Pathway too. Drummer/percussionist Kesley Reis will be adding the rhythmic backbone to the band”

“Fellow Beatibuddies and Collective members Eric Leroy Wilson and Rosella Haydee White will also be joining us for selected dates and we are also recording the November 21st event at the Kinship Cafe in Fallbrook. It promises to be a great week, meeting some great people and sharing some great music and a great message too!”

NINE BEATS COLLECTIVE is an international collective of troubadours, poets, rebels, provocateurs, sages & activists exploring the ancient Bible sayings known as ‘the beatitudes’. Includes music from their critically-acclaimed ‘Nine Beats to the Bar’ album (available on CD, digital, double vinyl), storytelling, thought-provoking conversation, and practice-based invitation to the 9 beats of Jesus.

These ancient sayings, spoken by Jesus, offer a nine-statement manifesto for a new world order. A counter cultural narrative for our times. A welcome not a weapon, tender not toxic, inviting not divisive. A call for a tribe of people to live life ‘nine beats to the bar’. In them we hear the whispers of another world, the invitation to a path of recovery – whatever your story, whatever your struggle, wherever you find yourself.

For Nine Beat Collective official website (CLICK HERE)

 

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All Fresh Claim releases now on digital

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We are at long pleased to announce that the entire FRESH CLAIM catalogue is now available on major digital music and streaming sites Worldwide. “Some titles have been available for some time but having all titles available in their own right is something I’ve been working towards for some time especially with the older releases that were originally on cassette and no longer available as a physical product”, states Plankton partner Keith Dixon, “and I’ve at last been able to coordinate everything and get everything uploaded and now live and on-line! I think the current term is all titles have now dropped!”

The list of their releases now available is:

Odd One Out (1987)
Live! No Claims Bonus (1988)
Hud’s Continental (1989)
Soapbox (1991)
In Times Of Rain (1992)
Outstanding Claims (1993)
Broken (1995)
Songs from the Rock Communion (1997)
Backdated Claims (2007)

 

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Simon Law’s 50th Anniversary Celebration

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2018 marked the 40th anniversary of the launch of Plankton Records by a young singer and guitarist Simon Law in order to release the “Mirrored Dreams” vinyl LP by his (then) band Sea Stone. And in November 2018 we had a fantastic 40th Anniversary concert in East London to mark the occasion

Almost one year on and 2019 marks another important anniversary for Plankton’s founding partner as the end of September marks the 50th anniversary of Simon’s decision to become a Christian. “It was the most important decision of my life” says Simon “and one that really steered the direction of the rest of my life from the point on and up to the present day… and on into the future too!”

“Music and using it to communicate  to others has always been a passion of mine so I wanted to mark the occasion with a concert of some kind, but not just a normal type of gig. Then I got to thinking about what other landmark events had also happened in 1969. The moon landing and the Woodstock festival were 2 obvious ones that came to mind and then there were other things more close to home such as my team Manchester City winning the FA Cup and my friend Graham Claydon became a priest. Graham was an important influence in my early years of being a Christian and remains a dear friend to this day. And the Youth Praise 2 song book was published. This was an import book for me as it included songs written for people of my age and it gave me songs that me and my band could perform before I had written any songs of my own”

“So, I’m putting on this 50th Celebration evening in my church at St Gabriel’s in Pitsea to celebrate my 50 years of being a Christian and I thought we’d start the evening by singing some of the songs from Youth Praise 2 together. It will be great to give them an airing again and it will give me a chance to acknowledge this important time in my life and the people who were in and around our youth group in Walthamstow. Then we are going to have a band gig with a difference. Steve Gale, who’s played bass with me in our band FRESH CLAIM since the late 1990s is joining me on stage with our sons – my son Issac and his son Matthew. Both of them play drums and Matthew also plays some keyboard. So that will be like ‘Fresh Claim & Sons’. And then, to close the evening, for those people who want to join me we will be holding Night Prayers in the Church from 10.00pm”

We know its going to be a joyful and fun time on the 28th and obviously we will be joining Simon to celebrate, reflect and remember together.

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New Nine Beats Collective related African project

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We are so excited and encouraged that the Nine Beats Collective movement and message continue to reach out across the World.

The latest news is the launch of the “KOSI” project which is launching this September in East Africa. The project, led by Nine Beats Collective member Ambassada, features some of the biggest artists from Uganda and Kenya. KOSI is aimed at empowering as well as motivating kids and teens in East Africa and Africa at large.

Ambassada and his friends have re-visited and recorded a new version and interpretation of Ambassada’s song ‘Kosi’, the original version of which features on the Nine Beat Collective ‘Nine Beats to the Bar’ album which we released.

One of the other artists featured on the new recording is also one of Kenya’s fastest rising stars Jabiddi. His journey is an inspiring story, from starting out living in one of Africa’s biggest slums called Kibera in Nairobi to a national music and dance star.

In a competitive musical market like Uganda, breaking through as a female artist is one of the biggest milestones Nina Roz has managed as she has emerged as a singer and model and is now one of the top five female artists in  Uganda. Nina brings a whole different vocal tonation plus an artistic approach like no other onto the KOSI project which is why we are so honoured to have her be part of the project. We know she will help inspire a whole new generation of female teens who have been thinking about giving up on their musical abilities.

We hope to share more news, photos etc as we receive them from Ambassada and/or the Nine Beats office. In the meantime keep it ‘Mseto’ as Ambassada and the team prepare to drop the KOSI project this month.

Nine Beats Collective official website (Click here)

To order Nine Beats Collective CD (Click here) or deluxe double vinyl (Click here)

Nine Beats Collective Facebook page (Click here)

Nine Beats Twitter page (Click here)

 

 

 

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Echo confirmed for KingsStock Festival

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Plankton band ECHO are playing at the 2019 KingsStock Festival on Saturday August 10th. The band will be playing at 2.00pm on the Garden Stage

Creating a place for creativity inspired by a life of faith, Kingsstock 2019 is a 4 day event offering captivating performances from over 40 UK based artists. 2019’s festival marks a special landmark for KingsStock as its their 10th year so they are inviting artists who have played at the festival before back to make the weekend a time of celebration, making it their best and most unfortgettable experience yet. This will be Echo’s third performance at the festival.

KingsStock 2019 is taking place at Moggerhanger Park, Park Lane, Moggerhanger, Bedfordshire, MK44 3RW. Tickets (both weekend and day passes) are various prices and will be available on the gate but they are still available to order in advance at a cheaper cost (CLICK HERE)

To find out more about the festival, the full line-up etc, go to the official KingsStock Festival website (CLICK HERE)

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New Caleb Quaye Documentary releasing soon

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CALEB QUAYE is a renowned and respected guitarist having played with some major artists in the 70’s. The new up-coming documentary LOUDER THAN ROCK is a “rags to riches to rags to redemption” story with built in appeal to rock fans and faith based audiences alike. The 95-minute film chronicles the UK born musician’s journey from being a legendary rock sideman throughout the 70s with artists such as Elton John and Daryl Hall & John Oates to launching a very different, even more vibrant life in ministry and speaking and performing throughout the country.

Caleb, who Eric Clapton once called “the best guitar player in the world”, is now an Elder of Worship at The Church on the Way in Los Angeles and has been an ordained minister for 25 years and his connection to Plankton Records is that Caleb is part of NINE BEATS COLLECTIVE and his brilliant guitar work is all over their ‘Nine beats to the Bar’ album, as well as him contributing his jazz tinged composition ‘The Way of Peace’.

The documentary is due to be released in the early Autumn of 2019 and we know it’s going to be a brilliant inspiring watch.We’ll keep you posted with more news and info as we get it

For more details and a great in depth web article (CLICK HERE)

To watch the official trailer for the documentary (CLICK HERE)